1ST ANNUAL HUP XMAS PARTY
18 DECEMBER 2015
By Ian Duggan
Hamilton Underground Press’ 1st Annual Xmas Party featured a massive eight bands, from Hamilton, Auckland and the USA, over a four and a half hour period. Starting at the early hour of 7:30pm, bands moved from the quiet (DateMonthYear, Sam, Goth and the Pixie), through to the noisy (Former Friends of Young Americans), to the even noisier (Invisible Threads, Ghosts of Electricity, How Get, The Recently Deceived). All the bands provided great sets, and all delivered something different from the others.
The ‘quiet’ bands eased our way into the night with some highly listenable sets, with Goth and the Pixie, in particular, providing some really interesting sounds and directions. The night started getting really interesting, however, with Former Friends of Young Americans, a duo with a great name from the equally greatly named town of ‘Bowling Green’ in Kentucky, USA; it was their only New Zealand appearance, and the rest of New Zealand really missed out on a treat. Describing their music as ‘post-folk’ and ‘Americana gothic’, not everything went the bands way, with both their microKORG and their guitars’ bolt-on neck failing them. Despite this, they carried on (sans KORG, and with a guitar borrowed from the aforementioned Goth), to provide one of the most entertaining sets of the night. Both multi-instrumentalists, the pair somehow delivered a full band sound, and provided the use of the first really interesting instrument of the night; the wind-blown pianica.
Auckland’s Invisible Threads followed, and brought with them the next interesting instrument; the Theremin. This was in no way a gimmick, however. The songs were brilliant, and the band were enthralling, and their performance would have been strong even without it. However, the Theremin’s distinctive sound and use took the songs to a whole other level, making the music wash over the listeners, and watching it being played was mesmerising. The band reminded me somewhat of the 3Ds and Chug from the ‘90s, but at the same time they were something completely themselves. This is a band I will be looking out for more closely in the future.
Former Hamilton, now Auckland based band Ghosts of Electricity returned for another HUP show and continue to get better and better. Exploding right into their set with Another Saturday Night, they didn’t let up throughout, playing a good proportion of their recent Troll’s album. Please Ghosts of Electricity, don’t stop visiting.
The penultimate band, Auckland’s How Get, followed. These guys were seriously loud, seriously tight, and provided some seriously interesting rhythms. And I am no conspiracy theorist, but the speed at which the drummer was playing was not humanly possible. Another highly entertaining watch. The night finished with Hamilton’s own The Recently Deceived who delivered a full-on set of high octane punk rock that recalled the likes of Rise Against and perhaps The Offspring. The hardiest punters who managed to stay the course certainly lapped it up.
This was a night of excellent entertainment, which I imagine provided something for everyone. Special mention needs to go to sound guy Scott Newth, who did an excellent job behind the desk throughout the night, and also to Ngamihi Pawa for capturing all the action on camera. Although this was Hamilton Underground Press’ 1st Annual Xmas Party, it hopefully will not be the last.